World Rugby has unveiled the shortlists for the
Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players of the Year 2018 awards in
association with HSBC.
The winners will receive their award at the World Rugby
Awards at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 25 November.
The shortlists feature players from four nations, including
three previous recipients of the prestigious award, with five of
them having featured in the dream teams for the HSBC World Rugby
Sevens Series 2018 or Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.
The nominees for the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of
the Year 2018 in association with HSBC are: Perry Baker (USA), Ben
O’Donnell (Australia) and Jerry Tuwai (Fiji).
nominees for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year
2018 in association with HSBC are: Michaela Blyde (New Zealand),
Sarah Goss (New Zealand) and Portia Woodman (New Zealand).
Both shortlists were selected by players, match officials
and commentators on the men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens
Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.
WORLD RUGBY MEN’S SEVENS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
PERRY BAKER (USA)
of the nominees at 32 and the 2017 recipient of this prestigious
award, Perry Baker was at his scintillating best in Las Vegas in
March, scoring eight tries – six of them in the knockout stages –
as USA tasted success on home soil for the first time. The Eagles
flyer has always had electric pace and the ability to create
something out of nothing, but now has the all-round game to go
with his natural speed to make him even more of a lethal finisher.
The crowd favourite scored 37 tries in seven events on the 2018
series, missing the finale in Europe due to injury before
returning to help USA to sixth place at RWC Sevens in San
BEN O’DONNELL (AUSTRALIA)
O’Donnell enjoyed a debut season to remember on the series in
2018, scoring 32 tries across nine rounds – including two in the
HSBC Sydney Sevens final as the hosts secured a first Cup title in
six years. Nominated for the Rookie of the Year award, O’Donnell
was the DHL Impact Player on three occasions and runner-up for the
series accolade. A powerful runner with the ability to come off
both feet, the 23-year-old is a constant threat to opponents with
his work-rate and hunger to get his hands on the ball making him a
key figure for Australia.
JERRY TUWAI (FIJI)
Fijian playmaker Jerry Tuwai earns a nomination
for the second year running after once again carving open defences
at will with his vision and step, making the most of his
diminutive frame to dart through gaps to create opportunities for
himself or those around him. The 29-year-old led Fiji to five
titles on the 2018 series, including four in a row from Vancouver
to London, and scored 25 tries along the way to also earn a place
in the HSBC Dream Team for the series. Fiji missed out on the
overall series title by two points to South Africa, had to settle
for silver in the Commonwealth Games and then finished fourth at
RWC Sevens, but Tuwai always plays with a smile on his face.
WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S
SEVENS PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
MICHAELA BLYDE (NEW
The youngest nominee at only 22, Michaela Blyde is in
contention to win the award for the second year running after
another impressive season with the Black Ferns Sevens that saw her
named in the HSBC Dream Teams for both the series and RWC Sevens.
The DHL Impact Player of the Series for a second time in 2018,
Blyde scored 37 tries across the five rounds – second only to
team-mate Woodman – as New Zealand finished as runners-up after
winning the Kitakyushu, Langford and Paris rounds. Blyde, blessed
with electric pace and quick feet, scored another nine to help New
Zealand claim back-to-back RWC Sevens titles in San Francisco,
including a hat-trick in the final against France. The season also
saw her win an historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
SARAH GOSS (NEW ZEALAND)
The inspirational captain of the
Black Ferns Sevens for the last four years, Sarah Goss led her
side to an historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in April,
tournament victories in Kitakyushu, Langford and Paris and a
successful defence of the RWC Sevens crown in a run of 27
consecutive wins. The 25-year-old, who started every match in the
2018 series, has a tireless work ethic which, combined with her
dogged defence and vision, enables her to unlock defences for
herself and her team-mates. Goss was named in the HSBC Dream Team
for RWC Sevens in San Francisco after also receiving the UL Mark
of Excellence as the best player in the tournament.
WOODMAN (NEW ZEALAND)
The only player to be named World Rugby
Women’s Player of the Year in both sevens (2015) and 15s (2017),
Portia Woodman was at her devastating best in the 2018 series to
finish as both the top try scorer and point scorer with 43 and 215
respectively across the five events. The former netballer may have
moved into the forwards in sevens, but with her blistering pace,
unbelievable footwork and power she remains a threat from anywhere
on the pitch, leaving others in her wake to score herself or
create opportunities for her team-mates. The 27-year-old’s
displays inevitably earned her a place in the HSBC Dream Team for
both the series and RWC Sevens.
Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby sevens is a fan-favourite and
this year we have enjoyed another incredible season of men’s and
women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and, of course, a
record-breaking Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco. These exceptional sevens athletes have been at the heart of
the success story, inspiring a new generation of fans and players
with their skill and athleticism. All are superb ambassadors for
our sport and will play a huge part in the sevens success story
for many seasons to come.”
These awards are two of 13
categories of awards, including the World Rugby Men’s and Women’s
Players of the Year, World Rugby Team of the Year, World Rugby
Breakthrough Player of the Year and Award for Character.
Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015,
Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong
Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,
Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013,
of Chartis Cup 2012 and
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.